Sunday, June 12, 2011

Q. I finished with my man recently because other girls were always flirting with him, laughing at his jokes and so on. I know I shouldn't have let it, but it made me jealous. He said they were just friends and that he really loved me. I still want to be with him. What should I do?

A. Here's a general rule from my collection - jealousy generally comes from insecurity. If you don't feel lovable, you can't believe he loves you. Develop reasons to be proud of yourself; love being you and be sure that a man worth having will love being with you. Make plans for your future career and education. Meanwhile, flirt with this guy too - and laugh at his jokes if they're funny. But let him do the running. If he doesn't run, then he never loved you, and you know exactly where you stand.

Q. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and, although he 'ticks all the boxes', I don't have butterflies when I see him. Is this important? Am I being silly?

A. It's interesting how many times we decide on a partner based on the 'shoulds' of society, rather than our instincts. Having said that, love is something you have to work at - it doesn't just fall into your lap. In your case, there are two things you need to do. First, be honest with yourself. Are the boxes your boyfriend 'ticks' yours or are they what others think is right for you? If those ticks are things that seem good on paper but aren't important to you, maybe you're not getting butterflies for a good reason. If, on the other hand, you value who he is, maybe it's about working on the romance. The second thing you need to do is speak to him. Make a plan to be more spontaneous and try to inject some passion. If there are still no flutters, maybe this relationship is meant to be platonic.

Q. I love sex but I hate penetration. I force myself to do it for the sake of my boyfriend, but girl-on-top is exhausting, missionary makes me claustrophobic and doggy style makes me feel like, well, a dog!

A. Having your lover inside you should be an intimate experience, but faking it makes it a chore for you - no wonder you hate it. It sounds like a technique issue but you're not giving either of you a chance to make it better. How would he feel if he knew? Betrayed? Foolish? Lied to? Be honest with him - buy a copy of 100 Hot Sex Positions or The Complete Manual of Sex Positions for tips on different options and see if you can find a better way. Intercourse isn't the be all of good sex, but faking it is definitely the end all.

Q. I've been with my girlfriend for less than two years and we're already having old-married-couple sex. I've suggested we try bondage or watching porn together, but she made me feel like a pervert for even asking. This is my longest relationship - is this just what happens?

A. The crazy ripping-each-other's-clothes-off part of a sexual relationship usually lasts about a year (it rarely lasts more than two). But, by that point, you should know each other well enough to begin working on deeper and more intimate lovemaking - the kind that means taking risks and daring to introduce new things. It sounds as though you're doing the right thing, but I wonder if you're going about it in the right way. 'Hey, couldn't we spice things up a little?' could sound a lot like, 'Sex with you is really dull', if said in the wrong tone of voice. So, she might be feeling defensive - or maybe she's just nervous. Either way, a relationship that stands still is a stagnant one. Eventually you'll either move forward or move on.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Q. My boyfriend of three years tells me he loves me, but doesn't show me any affection. I might be misinterpreting things, as he isn't very touchy-feely. How can I tell if he does or doesn't like me?

A. This is a difficult conversation so instead of telling him what he's not doing you need to nudge him towards what you want him to do. He's told you that he loves you and some men see touch as strictly part of the sexual ritual rather than a signal of affection and reassurance. Instigate things gradually, such as hand holding while you're out, or clinging to his bicep if he takes his hand away (pretending your high heels mean you need to hold on for balance is a good excuse). Sit on the same sofa when you are watching TV or a movie, instead of far apart, lean on him, or gently cuddle him. And asking for shoulder massages or back rubs when you're sitting alone sometimes works, he might just need some encouragement to touch you. Tell him you enjoy this while he's doing it, but don't suddenly instigate massive cuddles while you're out as he's clearly not a tactile bloke. If all else fails, talk to him, tell him what you love, and he might just get the hint.

Q. My boyfriend and I rarely sleep together. I told him he's never made me orgasm and he's devastated. We want to work through this but don't know where to start. Is it me?

A. Try exploring masturbation on your own. Discovering if you enjoy vaginal or clitoral stimulation (or both) can help. Many women orgasm during sex through other stimulation but not during intercourse, and some don't orgasm every time. Explore on your own - and together - what feels pleasurable, with no aim of having an orgasm. This removes the pressure from you and him. Also, try looking to see if there are any other factors in your life that are stopping you getting in the mood.

Q. My long-term boyfriend from school went to visit his friends who are at Uni and said he feels like he's missing out on a single life. He said he wanted to be with other girls, but doesn't want to lose me. What should we do?

A. Your man won't be the first person to be seduced by the excitement of student life although he's probably not in a hurry to start writing essays and revising for exams. He's got an over-the-top taste of 'the single life' but it may just be a sign that you both need to get a bit of 'me time' out of the relationship. At the start of relationships, many couples spend all their time with each other. Since you've been together a long time you both might have missed out on the single life a little. Have a chat with him and see what he actually wants and needs and have a look at what you want too. It may be that you both need to widen your circles of friends individually and as a couple. Just because two people are together it doesn't mean you have to block out the world. Neither does it mean you have to be party animals. There's a lot of middle ground that you can explore together, so talk about it.

Q. Most women usually worry about taking too long to reach orgasm but I climax after about two minutes of intercourse. Afterwards, my clitoris is too sensitive to carry on, so I have to take a break, which I think irritates my boyfriend, but I can't stop myself. Am I weird?

A. Most women need 10 to 30 minutes of foreplay to reach orgasm with a partner - and many can't cum at all during intercourse - so you belong to a smaller category of women, orgasmically speaking. But you're not weird at all and you're certainly not alone. Tell him to avoid your clitoris completely until you're both ready for you to climax, and find other erogenous zones he can turn his attention to (the back of the knees, buttocks, inner forearms, nipples etc). Try having intercourse from behind (minimising clitoral stimulation) and try using your hand or mouth to bring him closer to his orgasm first. But honestly, most women like to have a break after orgasm. If he says he has a problem with you needing a breather then it's just that - his problem! You need to find a solution together, but if all else fails, start stimulating him again as soon as he has ejaculated and see how quickly he stops you!

Q. I'm struggling to get over someone I was seeing purely for sex. I moved to another city but we kept in touch through texts. Then I lost my phone and we had no contact until I moved back home - we met once in the street and he barely acknowledged me. I think about him constantly. I have plenty of other friends but I only want to be with him.

A. To see a guy 'purely for sex' is like seeing him purely because you like his aftershave. And that suggests any other guy using the same brand would do as well. Of course he missed you - he missed seeing you for sex. When the texts stopped, he figured you'd moved on. Try posting him a letter, or email - but don't overdo it; tell him simply you miss his company, his jokes (if he made them) and his friendship. He could be as pleasantly surprised as you were to find out that you care for more than his aftershave. But if a man is in something 'just for sex' chances are he will have moved on as quickly as he assumed you did. Be warned though, it could well be a case of not getting the response you hoped for.

Q. My boyfriend and I get along well, except for his jealousy. He gets worked up over the smallest things - my being out with friends, getting in late from work, or when he thinks guys are looking at me. I'm finding it hard to cope.

A. Jealousy is to do with self-esteem, trust and respect - and unless these are addressed, it's unlikely the relationship will progress in a healthy way. Ask him why he thinks you'd cheat on him - if he's had bad experiences with women in the past, reassure him that you're not the same as them, but explain it's not fair he takes it out on you. Then talk about what you can do to help him with his jealousy. Maybe you could call him when you're going to be at work late? Don't be too accommodating though. Trust and respect for each other are essential. Agree to try this for a month and then talk. That way, you'll both feel like you're taking control of the problem.

Q. I love my girlfriend but our sex life has gone stale. I want us to try sex parties but I'm worried she'll think it's just an excuse for me to have sex with other women. All I want is for us to try something exciting and new - together. How should I broach the subject?

A. How? Think bomb-disposal expert in full-protective gear approaching a suspect package! The results are likely to be explosive - even if she likes the idea. Lots of couples manage it but it's a huge risk to take with your relationship if you've never talked about it before. It's easy to get caught up in the fantasy of it all but have you thought how you might feel watching her writhe in ecstasy with another man inside her? Or that she might never get that image of you with another girl out of her head? Are things so bad you're willing to stake your relationship? Start a little less ambitiously by taking turns to tell your fantasies to each other. Do it in a public place (not too public - you don't want to get arrested) so your desire doesn't interrupt the story. Start a fantasy book, so you can flick to a page and play out a scenario. Try playing in different places, other than the bedroom (outside, in the kitchen, in the garden etc). Sex goes stale when we stop trying - a little effort goes a long way.